Probationary Employee Not Entitled To Details Of Basis For Termination

James Fermin was hired by the Law­rence Police Department in Massachusetts in April 2016. After completion of the police academy, Fermin was sworn in as a full-time officer on October 14, 2016. Fermin was on probationary status until October 14, 2017. On August 2, 2017, Mayor Daniel Rivera gave Fermin a written notice of termination. The termination letter, which was effective immediately, stated that “a number of issues have…

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Employer Not Allowed To Unilaterally Extend Probationary Period

After graduating from the Los Angeles County police academy, Christopher Trejo was hired by the County as a Deputy Sheriff Generalist on February 23, 2014. Trejo’s 12-month probationary period started that day. About four months later, Trejo was involved in a use-of-force incident which triggered an investigation. The incident involved a handcuffed inmate who was kicking and pulling away from officers. This commotion attracted the attention of several officers,…

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No Due Process Right For Probationary Employees To Remain On Layoff List

Good news is not on the way when a court starts its opinion in your case by writing: “A chance at a job is not a right to it. When the government has broad discretion to take a benefit away from its employees, that benefit is not a constitutionally protected property interest.” The case began when corrections officers Claudio Tundo and Ruben Gilgorri were laid off by Passaic County,…

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Employer Fails To Terminate Probationary Sergeant In The Right Way, Loses Case

On July 6, 2008, Eddie Hernandez was promoted to the position of sergeant with the Los Angeles Port Police. The promotion entailed a six-month probationary period. At about the same time he was promoted, Hernandez obtained approval to take a family vacation to Lake Tahoe, California beginning December 30, 2008 and ending January 7, 2009. On December 30, the Director of Human Resources approved a recommendation that Hernandez’s probation…

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Injury Leave Does Not Extend Firefighter’s Probationary Period

The probationary periods of newly-hired employees are occasionally interrupted by injury or sick leave, used either for job-related or off-the-job injuries and illnesses. In the absence of specific language dealing with the issue, can an employer extend probationary periods by the amount of time missed due to leave? The federal Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals answered the question “no,” at least insofar as Illinois law is concerned. The case…

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Probationary Employees And USERRA

A recent California case examined the relationship between probationary status, seniority, and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). The case involved Johnnie Paxton and Brandon Contreras, who were probationary police officers with the City of Montebello, California, when they were activated for military service. The City reinstated them to their probationary status and credited them with having completed eight months of probation. The officers successfully completed…

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Firefighter Loses MySpace Case, Job

Tiffany Marshall was hired by the City of Savannah, Georgia in September 2006 as a probationary firefighter. Prior to beginning her employment with the City, Marshall switched her account at www.myspace.com to “private” so that only designated “friends” could view photographs in the private section of her account. These photographs included a picture of firefighters from the Department, which she obtained without permission from the City’s website. Marshall labeled…

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